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1 Timothy 1:4

"Don’t let them waste their time in endless discussion of myths and spiritual pedigrees. These things only lead to meaningless speculations, which don’t help people live a life of faith in God."

A photo of Fontaine Saint-Michel in Paris.

While few Christians today argue over myths and spiritual pedigrees, many do get caught up in minor issues of doctrine and speculative topics. For example, if you do a web search you will discover that there is quite a bit of debate on whether pets go to heaven or not. Or perhaps you might be interested in speculating where the Ark of the Covenant is today? I once had the misfortune of stumbling into an argument between two believers on whether humans have both a soul and a spirit, or just a spirit alone. I think you get my point. If you've been connected to the Church for very long, I'm sure you've experienced plenty of heated arguments over minor doctrinal issues.

While a healthy discussion of the essential doctrines of the faith is important, it's clear from 1 Timothy 1:4 that debating inconsequential topics is a waste of time. For some of us it's enjoyable to converse over a curious or obscure aspect of Scripture. And it's certainly acceptable to have what some call a "beer and pipe" discussion with friends. But when these conversations become heated or rise to an unreasonable level of importance, we begin to lose our way

Paul explains in 1 Timothy 1:4 that his overarching goal is to help people live a life of faith in God. If your spiritual studies or discussions do not lead in that direction, be aware that you may be wasting your time in meaningless speculation. So the next time, you get drawn into a debate over whether Adam had a belly button or where Paul's letter to Laodicea went (see Colossians 4:16), consider whether that discussion will help you grow in your relationship to God.

(New Living Translation; photo credit: Wix media)

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